Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto by Veronese

Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto by Veronese
Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto by Veronese

Many paintings have been dedicated to capturing the Battle of Lepanto, a key event for domination of the Mediterranean Sea in the 16th century for which an alliance of Christian countries and the Ottoman Empire.


Veronese's Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto

And among all those paintings, one of the most famous is this oil painting on canvas by the Italian artist Paolo Veronese in the year 1572, just one year after the battle. A work that is currently exhibited at the Galleria dell'Accademia in Venice.

The shape of the painting has the typical composition of religious votive offerings. Since it was usual in this type of works that the event to which mention is made is represented in the lower part of the image. And of course these are events with a happy ending from the point of view of faith, as happened in the case of this naval battle in which the alliance of Christian countries emerged victorious.

While the saints who are supposed to intervene miraculously so that this ending is the desired one must appear on the upper part of the canvas. In this case, the saints represented are from left to right, Saint Peter, Saint Roch, Saint Justina and Saint Mark, the quintessential Venetian saint who is accompanied by his symbol, the lion. They are all looking at the Virgin, who intercedes for the troopsChristian.

Finally, victory awaits the Christians in a tough battle, in which a very high number of ships participated, as can be seen at the bottom of the frame. However, the painting seems to say that no matter how many boats participated, they could not have won without divine intervention, which is represented by the figure of an angel dressed in pink, and who appears at the top on the right side. An angel armed with incendiary arrows that he shoots at Turkish ships.

Therefore it is to be assumed that this painting was painted by Veronese to be exhibited in a church. It is even thought that it was commissioned byPiero Giustiniani, who participated in the battle itself where he was wounded

In fact, when we talk about the Christian alliance, we should mainly mention the Republic of Venice, the army of the Pope of Rome and the navy of Spain. All of them achieved a transcendent victory for the domination of the Mediterranean and the decline of the powerful Ottoman Empire.

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